Foods to Keep Cholesterol (and Blood Sugar) In Check

Eat these foods to lower your bad cholesterol, boost your good cholesterol and keep blood sugar under control.

Mary Mihaly

One of the results of uncontrolled diabetes is thicker blood vessels, which makes it easier for cholesterol to build up. Luckily, treating yourself to these foods can help lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, boost your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and even help keep your blood sugar under control!

Avocados: Eating avocados regularly can lower your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels by up to 22%, and increase your HDL by more than 10%, according to researchers. The key is moderation—experts recommend one serving (that’s 2 tablespoons) a day, which adds just 5 fat grams and about 60 calories to your daily food count. Try it chopped up with some egg whites for breakfast, or over a salad during lunch or dinner.
Blood sugar benefit: Avocados are rich in soluble fiber, which can help keep blood sugar levels steady.

Peanut butter: With no trans fats and plenty of heart-smart polyunsaturated fats, all-natural peanut butter is a cholesterol-friendly choice. Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats (MUFA) rather than carbs can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and raise “good” HDL cholesterol—and peanut butter is loaded with MUFAs! Stick to one serving (about 2 tablespoons, or the size of a ping-pong ball) per day.
Blood sugar benefit: Adding peanut butter to a meal can prevent blood sugar from spiking afterward, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Pistachios: They’re addictive, but if you can eat them in moderation (1 serving is 50 nuts, or about a handful), pistachios will boost your heart health three ways: The nuts reduce LDL cholesterol, improve HDL cholesterol and raise blood antioxidant levels. They’re also the only nuts that provide lots of lutein, zeaxanthin and gamma tocopherol, antioxidants that also prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, thereby lowering your risk of heart disease.
Blood sugar benefit: Like peanuts and peanut butter, pistachios can also prevent the blood sugar spikes that occur after a meal. 

April 2013